Fabulous 15 Minute Organizing Fix: Simplify with Chalkboard Tags

posted by Aby Garvey on September 19, 2013 6 Comments

Fabulous 15 Minute Organizing Fixes: a blog series from simplify 101

The best organizing projects are the ones that solve an ongoing problem. And that’s what today’s 15 minute organizing fix was for me. 

The problem:  When I reorganized my kitchen while we were filming our Organize Your Kitchen Video online class, I started decanting my leftover pasta into glass jars. I love the look of glass jars in pantries, but needed to figure out how I would keep track of the cooking time. My solution was little tags with the cooking time printed on the tags. I attached these to the glass jars with rubber bands.

This seemed like a great solution, until I bought a new kind of pasta and didn’t have the right printed label available. (Sticky notes on my glass jars kind of ruined the whole effect.) And, to make matters worse, the rubber bands started snapping causing the labels to fall off. (Hello, what happened to rubber bands that last more than a year?)

While not knowing the cooking time for pasta may not be a big deal for some, it was an ongoing annoyance for me…and it caused a pile up in in the pasta area in my pantry. I continually opted to use pasta whose cooking time was not a mystery. And so…I needed a solution.

The solution:  Chalkboard tags. I had thought about making my own tags using chalkboard paint and wooden tags…but I knew that would take me much longer than 15 minutes. (Plus, have I ever shared how much I really don’t like spray painting?) So…I was super excited when I found chalkboard tags at The Container Store. I snagged a few packs, headed home, pulled out some chalk, scissors, and bakers twine, and set my timer for 15 minutes.

chalkboard labels


Before the timer could beep, my pasta dilemma was solved! 

chalkboard tags on food canisters

Best of all, when I get a different type of pasta, I can simply erase the tag and write down the new cooking time. (Simple solutions are my favorite kind.)

The key takeaways are this:

1) Try and tweak. Sometimes the first thing you try when organizing doesn’t work. That’s okay. Give yourself permission to “try and tweak”. That’s one of my mottoes, and this little project is the perfect example of that thinking in action.

2) Keep it simple. Spray painting would have put me beyond my 15 minute time budget for this project. So, I simplified with pre-made tags.

3) Use organizing to solve problems. What’s driving you batty in your home, or what’s causing an ongoing minor irritation? That’s a great place to invest some organizing effort…fifteen minutes at a time.

4) Adapt ideas to suit your needs. You may not have the pasta dilemma that I have, but what area of your home has items that change frequently? Erasable chalkboard tags could be a terrific solution for that area in your home.

Note cooking times with chalkboard labels

I’d love to hear from you. Did this fabulous fifteen minute organizing fix trigger any ideas for you? Thanks for sharing!


P.S. We just opened enrollment for my Organize Your Kitchen online class. The class is currently on sale at the early bird rate (20% off), plus for this session only, when you sign up you can get a coupon code good for my Easy Meal Planning instant download class. How great is that? And it gets better. I’ll be answering questions about both topics — kitchen organizing and meal planning in the private forum. So why not get your kitchen and meal planning streamlined and organized before the holidays hit? I’d love to hang out with you online and help you get the job done! Learn more here.

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program

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  • September 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    love it,great idea . always love hearing your ideas.

    September 20, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Thanks so much Margie! :)

    September 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

    aby, I love this idea and love the container store and never knew they had these tags. super cute & effective!

    • September 19, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      I signed up yesterday. Get ready for lots of questions from me! I am excited and I love the bundling option.

      September 20, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Yay! I’m so glad you’ll be there with lots of questions. Looking forward to it, Alissa!

      • September 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

        I use the chalkboard labels on my jars for the content, but this idea is great for things you take out of boxes that you might need the cooking instructions for. Thanks!